- Last Updated: 7:37 AM, July 26, 2012
- Posted: 1:17 AM, July 26, 2012
At a time of injury crisis, general manager Brian Cashman follows a familiar script: He projects confidence the Yankees can weather the loss with internal solutions.
He does this to a) bolster the resolve of his own organization and b) to send a message to other teams that the Yankees will not panic and overpay in a trade. Thus, it was no surprise when, in the immediate aftermath of Alex Rodriguez fracturing a bone in his left hand, that Cashman said he plans to fill third base with internal solutions, notably Eric Chavez.
Which is fine. But it means trusting one of the most brittle players in the game for the six-to-eight weeks Rodriguez should miss. Chavez already has played in more games and come to the plate more than any time since 2007, when he was 29. If he suffers a familiar breakdown, then the Yankees would have some combination of Jayson Nix, Eduardo Nunez and Brandon Laird for third base. And no matter how much calm Cashman projected, the Yankees would then have a crisis.
So the question I asked Cashman yesterday was about being pro-active because of Chavez’s injury history.
“It is not about Chavez. It is about the price tag,” Cashman said. “If the price tag is right, I will act. I will go through the motions. I will stay engaged. I will see if anything makes sense.”
Cashman said he was doubtful anything would make sense, though he cautioned that a week ago he could not have imagined landing Ichiro Suzuki. Surprises and deals can come quickly this time of year. Nevertheless, the Yankees have almost no shot at the best third baseman available, San Diego’s Chase Headley.
An official with knowledge of Headley’s market said he “did not think the Yankees will be a fit.” The Padres were deep into discussions with teams such as the A’s and Dodgers before A-Rod’s injury and those clubs value Headley as a long-term third-base solution (he is 28 and not a free agent until after 2015).
But the Yankees need a third baseman only until Rodriguez heals. In fact, they might need just a righty complement to Chavez better than Nix until he heals — and Nix helped his perception with a go-ahead, eighth-inning, three-run double yesterday that helped the Yankees beat the Mariners 5-2 yesterday. Also, with Rodriguez signed for five more years after this season, the Yankees would not be willing to buy Headley as exclusively a third baseman. For the Yankees, he would have to play third, left, first and designated hitter, and they would not pay a long-term third base price for that. The length of Rodriguez’s contract is also why they would not play for someone like Milwaukee’s Aramis Ramirez, who is signed through 2014.Follow @NYPostsports